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Gustin, Pierce, Scott, O’Neal Capture Showdown Wins on Opening Night of 31st Prairie Dirt Classic

Marshall, Spalding, Hoffman, Allgaier Take Modified Nationals Victories

Ryan Gustin

Ryan Gustin

Bobby Pierce

Bobby Pierce

Stormy Scott

Stormy Scott

Hudson O'Neal

Hudson O'Neal

Story by Mike Warren, WoO - Photos by Rocky Ragusa

The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models kicked off the 31st Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway in style Friday, with more than 70 cars fighting for 16 spots in Saturday’s 100-lap finale. Ryan Gustin, Bobby Pierce, Stormy Scott, and Hudson O’Neal collected each $3,000 by winning one of Friday’s four Showdowns and have the chance to start on the pole for the Morton Buildings Feature.

SHOWDOWN #1
gustin lmWorld of Outlaws Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Gustin has never been afraid to run the outside at any speedway. He used that experience to his advantage Friday, leading all 25 laps to score the $3,000 prize. The Marshalltown, IA driver also swept the night, winning his Showdown and setting Slick Woody’s Cornhole Co. Quick time. Gustin received advice from a DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals driver to help him get around Fairbury Speedway. “Mike Harrison has been helping me out a little bit, telling me what lines to run and stuff,” Gustin said. “He’s got a million laps around [Fairbury Speedway], so I really got to thank him and everyone else that helps.” Shannon Babb, a three-time Prairie Dirt Classic winner, finished second after starting 13th. Chris Madden crossed the line third, and Chris Simpson grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot.

SHOWDOWN #2
pierce lmBobby Pierce was one turn away from winning the Prairie Dirt Classic in 2019 before Brandon Sheppard passed him for the win on the final corner. The “Smooth Operator” proved he’s wasting no time in his quest for redemption, winning Friday’s second Showdown. The Oakwood, IL driver chased down early race leader Jonathan Davenport and pulled an epic slide job in traffic to take the lead away from “Superman” with six laps to go. Pierce stated he should’ve tried to make the pass a few laps sooner. “I was kind of kicking myself in the butt for not pulling the trigger on the slider I was thinking about a few laps before that,” Pierce said. “Right place right time with the lap car, and it kind of set the pick for me, so I went right there and capitalized on it.” Davenport settled for second, followed by Brian Shirley and Tyler Bruening.

SHOWDOWN #3
scott lmKyle Larson started on the pole for Friday’s third showdown, hoping to find Victory Lane for the first time at the Prairie Dirt Classic. But Stormy Scott had other ideas, sneaking by Larson on the bottom to grab the $3,000 prize. The Las Cruces, NM driver, bested a field of former Series champions, including Brandon Sheppard and Rick Eckert. The trip to Victory Lane caught him by surprise, knowing the competition he was facing. “If you had asked me if I thought we were going to be here before this deal started, I would’ve told you no way; I just would’ve been happy to get into the show,” Scott said. “I’m more thrilled for my crew than myself to finally put an entire night together for these guys because they deserve it, and they work their butts off.” Larson, Sheppard, and Eckert grabbed the final three transfer spots into Saturday’s race.

SHOWDOWN #4
oneal lmHudson O’Neal wasted no time driving away from the rest of the field in Friday’s fourth showdown, leading all 25 laps. The Martinsville, IN driver, started on the inside and made sure he beat Jimmy Owens to Turn 1 to carry his momentum to the top. “I knew that the top was going to be okay, and I wanted to get up there to where I had some momentum built up where if somebody showed me the nose underneath, I could at last do something with him,” O’Neal said. “I didn’t want to get caught on the top and have no momentum built up, so that was kind of just where I stayed for the whole race.” Owens crossed the line second, followed by Chase Junghans and Allan Weisser. Weisser was penalized three positions due to a post-race infraction, moving Mckay Wenger into the fourth and final transfer spot.

RESULTS

Drydene Heat #1 – Flight (A) (25 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer-1. 19R-Ryan Gustin [1]; 2. 18-Shannon Babb [13]; 3. 44-Chris Madden [2]; 4. 32S-Chris Simpson [3]; 5. 99JR-Frank Heckenast [8]; 6. 41-Jeremiah Hurst [4]; 7. 25F-Jason Feger [10]; 8. T2-Todd Bennett [7]; 9. B12-Kevin Weaver [9]; 10. 12-Ashton Winger [18]; 11. 14-Wil Herrington [16]; 12. 11T-Trevor Gundaker [6]; 13. 10J-Joseph Joiner [17]; 14. 26M-Brent McKinnon [14]; 15. 12Q-Brandon Queen [19]; 16. 10S-Taylor Scheffler [12]; 17. 24-Ryan Unzicker [5]; 18. 162-Logan Moody [11]; 19. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford [15]

Drydene Heat #2 – Flight (A) (25 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer-1. 32-Bobby Pierce [2]; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport [1]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley [6]; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening [3]; 5. 0-Nick Hoffman [10]; 6. 45-Kyle Hammer [8]; 7. 7-Ricky Weiss [4]; 8. B1-Brent Larson [7]; 9. 28-Dennis Erb [13]; 10. 7S-Jay Sparks [5]; 11. 59-Garrett Alberson [15]; 12. 9S-Eric Smith [9]; 13. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh [11]; 14. 1st-Johnny Scott [12]; 15. 6S-Blake Spencer [17]; 16. 3-Dale Markham [18]; 17. 40B-Kyle Bronson [14]; 18. 2-Mike Chasteen [16]

Drydene Heat #3 – Flight (B) (25 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer-1. 2s-Stormy Scott [3]; 2. 6-Kyle Larson [1]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [6]; 4. 0E-Rick Eckert [5]; 5. 9-Devin Moran [8]; 6. 76-Brandon Overton [11]; 7. 20RT-Ricky Thornton [7]; 8. 99B-Boom Briggs [14]; 9. 22-Chris Ferguson [2]; 10. 25B-Mike Benedum [10]; 11. 89-Mike Spatola [9]; 12. 4G-Bob Gardner [13]; 13. 10-Scott Schmitt [16]; 14. 111-Steven Roberts [12]; 15. 11H-Spencer Hughes [4]; 16. 73-Ryan Weistart [17]; 17. 76S-Titus Sneed [18]; 18. 354-Chris Nash [19]; 19. 35-Austin Simpson [15]

Drydene Heat #4 – Flight (B) (25 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer-1. 71-Hudson O’Neal [1]; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens [2]; 3. 18C-Chase Junghans [3]; 4. 42-Mckay Wenger [8]; 5. 11-Gordy Gundaker [6]; 6. 35C-Derek Chandler [5];7. 61-Allen Weisser [4]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard [10]; 9. 51-Matt Furman [12]; 10. 25-Shane Clanton [9]; 11. 1M-Mike Mataragas [11]; 12. 116-Torin Mettille [13]; 13. 9Z-Lyle Zanker [16]; 14. T4-Adam Tishhouser [14]; 15. 12C-Jeff Curl [15]; 16. 84-Myles Moos [7]; 17. 79W-Greg Wagner [17]; 18. B14-Victor Benedetto [18]

Qualifying Flight-A – 1. 19R-Ryan Gustin, 12.97; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport, 13.315; 3. 44-Chris Madden, 13.392; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce, 13.409; 5. 32S-Chris Simpson, 13.473; 6. 16-Tyler Bruening, 13.475; 7. 41-Jeremiah Hurst, 13.476; 8. 7-Ricky Weiss, 13.484; 9. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 13.544; 10. 7S-Jay Sparks, 13.546; 11. 11T-Trevor Gundaker, 13.555; 12. 3S-Brian Shirley, 13.555; 13. T2-Todd Bennett, 13.556; 14. B1-Brent Larson, 13.56; 15. 99JR-Frank Heckenast, 13.566; 16. 45-Kyle Hammer, 13.596; 17. B12-Kevin Weaver, 13.657; 18. 9S-Eric Smith, 13.665; 19. 25F-Jason Feger, 13.667; 20. 0-Nick Hoffman, 13.669; 21. 162-Logan Moody, 13.687; 22. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh, 13.708; 23. 10S-Taylor Scheffler, 13.713; 24. 1st-Johnny Scott, 13.734; 25. 18-Shannon Babb, 13.757; 26. 28-Dennis Erb, 13.873; 27. 26M-Brent McKinnon, 13.88; 28. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 13.893; 29. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford, 13.893; 30. 59-Garrett Alberson, 13.909; 31. 14-Wil Herrington, 13.916; 32. 2-Mike Chasteen, 13.935; 33. 10J-Joseph Joiner, 13.99; 34. 6S-Blake Spencer, 13.994; 35. 12-Ashton Winger, 14.165; 36. 3-Dale Markham, 14.509; 37. 12Q-Brandon Queen, 14.646

Qualifying Flight-B – 1. 6-Kyle Larson, 13.551; 2. 71-Hudson O’Neal, 13.722; 3. 22-Chris Ferguson, 13.899; 4. 20-Jimmy Owens, 13.913; 5. 2s-Stormy Scott, 13.968; 6. 18C-Chase Junghans, 13.996; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 14.015; 8. 61-Allen Weisser, 14.073; 9. 0E-Rick Eckert, 14.083; 10. 35C-Derek Chandler, 14.096; 11. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 14.12; 12. 11-Gordy Gundaker, 14.15; 13. 20RT-Ricky Thornton, 14.151; 14. 84-Myles Moos, 14.158; 15. 9-Devin Moran, 14.215; 16. 42-Mckay Wenger, 14.215; 17. 89-Mike Spatola, 14.232; 18. 25-Shane Clanton, 14.248; 19. 25B-Mike Benedum, 14.252; 20. 97-Cade Dillard, 14.276; 21. 76-Brandon Overton, 14.285; 22. 1M-Mike Mataragas, 14.316; 23. 111-Steven Roberts, 14.407; 24. 51-Matt Furman, 14.415; 25. 4G-Bob Gardner, 14.434; 26. 116-Torin Mettille, 14.473; 27. 99B-Boom Briggs, 14.508; 28. T4-Adam Tishhouser, 14.608; 29. 35-Austin Simpson, 14.616; 30. 12C-Jeff Curl, 14.641; 31. 10-Scott Schmitt, 14.681; 32. 9Z-Lyle Zanker, 14.705; 33. 73-Ryan Weistart, 14.75; 34. 79W-Greg Wagner, 14.982; 35. 76S-Titus Sneed, 15.72; 36. B14-Victor Benedetto, NT; 37. 354-Chris Nash, NT

Marshall, Spalding, Hoffman, Allgaier Take Modified Nationals Victories

Frank Marshall

Frank Marshall

Curt Spalding

Curt Spalding

Nick Hoffman

Nick Hoffman

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier

Story by Jordan DeLucia, DIRTcar - Photos by Terry Page

Two-thirds of the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals field for the 31st Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway has been set. Sixteen drivers have punched their ticket in by way of the four Showdown Features Friday night – the rest will be seeded into one of two Last Chance Showdown events on Saturday. A grand total of 63 Summit Modifieds packed the pit area for Hot Lap/Qualifying and were then divided into four 20-lap qualifying Showdown Features, taking the top-four finishers to Saturday’s main event. The top-two finishers were placed into the redraw, to be held at opening ceremonies on Saturday. The two Last Chance Showdowns will take the top-two finishers and put them into the big show, followed by four provisional starters to complete the field for the 40-lap, $5,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Classic Modified finale.

SHOWDOWN #1
The first Feature on the freshly groomed Fairbury Speedway was the speediest of all Showdowns, won by Valpariso, IN-driver Frank Marshall. Marshall set fast time in Group 1 Qualifying, putting him on the pole for the 20-lap event. When the green dropped, Marshall took off immediately, opening up a small gap over the field and continued to add to it with every lap he clicked off. In all, the caution-free race took just over 13.5 minutes to complete. Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, had been running Marshall down the entire race and came to within a half-second of him in the final laps, but was unable to make a move for the win. Marshall crossed the stripe first to secure a spot in Saturday’s redraw and his first career Summit Modified victory. With the #25 of Nicely hot on his tail, the veteran racer Marshall never buckled under the pressure and got the job done. “We know they’re there, but we feel like we’ve got a few good years left in us. We’re kinda veterans here, but it’s fun racing with these guys,” Marshall said.

SHOWDOWN #2
Curt Spalding cashed-in big time Friday night at FALS, winning his second career Summit Modified Feature after holding off one of the best and youngest drivers on the roster. Spalding grabbed the lead from the pole and opened up a solid gap in traffic before a caution with three-to-go restacked the field. On the restart, third-running Brandon Bollinger wound it up on the top side and went after 16-year-old Hunt Gossum for second. At the stripe, Bollinger nipped Gossum by .150 to claim the final spot in the redraw while Spalding celebrated in Victory Lane. “The first ten laps, I felt really good. I thought we were slowing down, and the track was changing a little bit,” Spalding said. “It got technical, where you had to move around a little bit. About that time was when I started hearing the boys catching me. I knew they’d be coming.”

SHOWDOWN #3
He won the Summit Modified show at FALS earlier in the year for his fifth win in five starts. Since then, Nick Hoffman has won 18 of the 19 races he’s entered, adding the 18th Friday night in the third Showdown. The three-time and defending Summit Modified champion cooked up the exact same recipe he used to win here in June and served it again Friday night to claim his 56th career tour victory – smooth and steady, right through the middle. “Track got pretty momentum’d up through the middle, which is where I’ve been best,” Hoffman said. “I won the Summit Modified race here [in June] the same way, just kinda running the same line about midway to three-quarters of the way up the racetrack. Just carrying a lot of speed, and it’s just where we shine.” Hoffman was never seriously challenged for the lead and finished nearly 7 seconds ahead of runner-up Mike Harrison. However, Hoffman did turn some heads with a fifth-place finish in the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Showdown Feature #2. “I ran the exact same line in both cars. That was probably one of the best Late Models I’ve ever drove through the middle of the racetrack. It drove exactly how I’d want it to with my Modified,” Hoffman said.

SHOWDOWN #4
After winning the Gator Championship night at Volusia this past February, Justin Allgaier was determined to get back into the seat of his UMP Modified and compete with the best of the best again. Friday night at FALS, he not only competed with them, he beat them, scoring his first career Summit Modified victory in the fourth and final Showdown. “I feel like this style of racetrack is probably our worst, so to be able to come out here and put an Elite Chassis in Victory Lane more than once, and to race with some Elite Chassis out there in that race was really cool,” Allgaier said. Allgaier initially did not get the jump at the drop of the green he was hoping for, as polesitter Chris Arnold led the field into Turn 1 and down the backstretch. Allgaier crossed over underneath him heading into Turn 3 and got a smooth exit off Turn 4 to take the lead as Arnold bobbled up high. After that, it was all defense for #7, which Allgaier handled with no issues. Several cautions littered the 20-lapper, but Allgaier’s restarts were on-point as he cruised to the $500 victory.

RESULTS

Summit Racing Equipment Showdown Feature 1 (20 Laps) 1. 28M-Frank Marshall[1]; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely[3]; 3. 1W-Bob Pohlman[2]; 4. 8K-Levi Kissinger[4]; 5. 25W-Allen Weisser[8]; 6. 59R-Jacob Rexing[5]; 7. 11S-Nick Seplak[6]; 8. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[11]; 9. 24B-Brent Weaver[7]; 10. 84-Ryan Toole[15]; 11. 7-Tim Nash[13]; 12. 96-Curtis Rodenhaber[14]; 13. 32-Mason Duncan[9]; 14. 64-Dawson Cook[12]; 15. 35- Ethan Weber[10]; 16. (DNS) 27C-Justin Cundiff

Wehr’s Machine Showdown Feature 2 (20 Laps) 1. 5CS-Curt Spalding[1]; 2. 242-Brandon Bollinger[3]; 3. 99-Hunt Gossum[2]; 4. 22C-Nick Clubb[8]; 5. 5-Steven Brooks[7]; 6. 15-Chris Smith[6]; 7. 48-Adam Pockrus[9]; 8. 12-Wyatt Harms[4]; 9. 757-Bradley Jameson[5]; 10. 1L-Dave Lilja[15]; 11. 463-Daniel Sanchez[10]; 12. 36-Eric Vaughan[12]; 13. 71R-Troy Ricketts[16]; 14. 62PAP-Kim Edington[14]; 15. 0-Travis Kohler[11]; 16. 83-Kasey Schrock[13]

All-Star Performance Showdown Feature 3 (20 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman[1]; 2. 24H-Mike Harrison[3]; 3. 53S-Bobby Stremme[5]; 4. 4-Victor Lee[6]; 5. 9H-John Demoss[10]; 6. 121- Deece Schwartz[12]; 7. 14-Caden McWhorter[11]; 8. 88S-Alan Stipp[9]; 9. 61-Chris Osborne Jr[14]; 10. 1-Nash Hilmes[16]; 11. 19-Travis Thrasher[15]; 12. 82-Jacob Poel[4]; 13. K19-Will Krup[2]; 14. 21D-Danny Schwartz[13]; 15. 42-Bob Baldwin[7]; 16. 28-Rodney Standerfer[8]

Deke Trucking Showdown Feature 4 (20 Laps) 1. 7A-Justin Allgaier[2]; 2. 8-Kyle Steffens[4]; 3. 77-Ray Bollinger[6]; 4. 96M-Mike McKinney[3]; 5. 3L-Jeff Leka[10]; 6. 1S- Brian Shaw[7]; 7. 34W-James Walters[9]; 8. 99W-Chris Arnold[1]; 9. 0J-Garrett Jameson[11]; 10. 3-Mike Brooks[14]; 11. 37- Michael Ledford[5]; 12. 777-Trevor Neville[13]; 13. 17-Mike Mosier[15]; 14. 18-Jarrett Stryker[12]; 15. K67-Ian Keller[8]


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